Members of Rodney Levi's family pleased with diversity of jurors chosen for inquest

·3 min read
The family of Rodney Levi said they were pleased with the jurors selected for the coroner's inquest into his death. Pictured are his niece, Gina Levi, left, his sister, Rhoda Levi, middle, and his niece, Mimiges Danny, right. (Rachel Cave/CBC - image credit)
The family of Rodney Levi said they were pleased with the jurors selected for the coroner's inquest into his death. Pictured are his niece, Gina Levi, left, his sister, Rhoda Levi, middle, and his niece, Mimiges Danny, right. (Rachel Cave/CBC - image credit)

Five jurors, including two described by coroner John Evans as Indigenous and one person who he said married into an Indigenous family, were sworn in this morning at the inquest into Rodney Levi's death.

"I was really pleased with the jury selection today," said Rhoda Levi, Rodney Levi's sister.

"I was nervous. I was looking around the room and was just hoping to have First Nations representation today because our First Nations' people don't always get a win."

Some 200 people, selected at random, had received summons, but they were not all asked to show up in the morning, to avoid crowding.

The first task for the jury Tuesday afternoon was to visit the residence on Boom Road near Sunny Corner where Levi, 48, was fatally shot by an RCMP officer on June 12, 2020.

Evans said seeing the site would help the jurors understand the evidence they're going to hear over the next week and a half, including testimony from 27 witnesses.

Evans declined requests by reporters to accompany the jury to the residence. He said he did not want anything to distract the jurors from their task.

Rachel Cave/CBC
Rachel Cave/CBC

Observers at the inquest included Rodney's nieces Gina Levi and Mimiges Denny and lawyer Alisa Lombard, who represents the Levi family.

"I hope the government does everything they can do to implement [the jury recommendations] so that nobody else is shot and killed by the RCMP," said Rhoda Levi.

"Chantel Moore's family, our family, we've gone through a lot." Levi was referring to the 26-year-old mother who was fatally shot by police outside her Edmundston apartment eight days before Levi was killed.

Both police interventions were investigated by an outside agency brought in from Quebec.

And in both cases, New Brunswick's public prosecutions services decided against laying any criminal charges against the peace officers involved.

Rhoda Levi said she didn't trust the investigation by the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, or BEI.

"It was too quick. They jumped on witnesses too fast. They did not look into their backgrounds and I was really upset about that."

Levi said she wants to know what happened to her brother that day.

Submitted by Tara Louise Perley
Submitted by Tara Louise Perley

"We were never told anything. BEI said they would tell us information but they never told us anything. They never told us the police officers' names. We never heard the 911 tapes either."

Evans said this inquest is a fact-finding mission that will allow the public to know what happened.

He said some of the witnesses will be the people who were present at the time of the shooting, as well as scientific experts.

Kenneth Francis of the Elsipogtog First Nation is also attending the inquest.

"We felt it would be helpful for him to be present to offer insights and advice during our preparation for this inquest,during the jury selection process and to be here to provide some cultural eyes and ears and experience to assist … us in asking the right questions," said Evans.

When the evidence has concluded, the jury will be tasked with identifying how the situation might have been handled differently to prevent a future death.

Those recommendations will then be forwarded to the agencies that would be capable of implementing the changes.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting